About Dear Bex

This is my place to speak to my daughter. She won't remember these early days in her life, and I want to make sure that I do! Plus, there's just so much I want to say to her and be sure she knows.

November 5, 2011

The List (Part 1)

Dear Bex,

This is a list of things that we never could have made it this far without. All were invaluable in the first nine months of your life at some point, and I plan to add to the list in subsequent blog posts as you grow.

• The Sleep Sheep – well really, just the insert. Yep, we gutted it, on the advice of others. It plays the sound of rain that we play every night at bedtime. Not only is it awesome white noise to help you sleep, but it’s loud enough that with it on, and your door closed, we can make noise around you even if you’re sleeping!

• The Swing – once we started to turn that puppy up high, it guaranteed a solid 2 hours nap or so when you were just a couple of months old. I’m not quite certain what I would have done on maternity leave without it!

• Dr. Brown’s Bottles – these were the third bottles we tried, after Playtex drop-ins (SO ANNOYING!) and Avent bottles (that you choked in every time!). Despite having a ton of parts to clean that have probably been the bane of my existence for the past nine months, they definitely cut down on your gassiness.

• Gripe Water and Mylicon – for the first few months, we gave you this constantly. You were in pain a lot after eating, as your digestive system worked to develop itself, and these two miracles helped you feel better, even if it was just for a little while.

• Lovies – when people first gave us these as gifts when you were born, I didn’t see the point in them. Were they toys? Stuffed animals?? Blankets?!? I hung them on and around your crib almost like decorations. Then, one day when you wouldn’t nap in your swing, I put a fleece blanket over you to warm you up, thinking that’s why you weren’t sleeping. Your fingers immediately grabbed on to the soft fleece and you hugged it to you and you were OUT. That day, I started putting a pink hippo lovey in your stroller with you when you napped, and it was an instant snuggler for you and guaranteed a nap. So we let you sleep in your crib with it too, as we were just beginning to sleep train you and they said you should have an object with you – I would put the hippo in my shirt to make it smell like me, another suggestion from the books I read. Nowadays you have six lovies. The pink hippo is still around, but we also have three pink giraffe’s, a pink lamb-type animal that Amanda gave you, and a few others. You love them all and snuggle with each, but your favorite is hands down still that pink hippo. I can’t even think of the day that we have to take them away from you – thankfully it won’t be any time soon!

• Your thumb. I spoke of sleep training you in the last paragraph… well, the night that we did that (yes, the night. I swear, it only took you 90-minutes to learn how to soothe yourself back to sleep, and you’ve been great at it ever since) , the key was that you learned how to suck your thumb! You would do it when you were tired, or hungry, and it was an easy signal for us to each of those things. Then, you started doing it more… and more…… and more! Nowadays, your thumb is fairly constantly in your mouth. You do It when we read books, when you’re in your stroller, and it is a pain in the ass that you do it all the time when we feed you!

• Zipper onesie pajamas – The Daddy has trouble with snaps. Nights when he would put you to bed would take a loooong time with the long line of snaps down the front. Luckily, Lulu told us about the zipper ones at Children’s Place, and lo and behold, he can change you again! They’re a lot harder to change your diaper in, which sucked when I was the one feeding you in the middle of the night, but I love them nonetheless. And you look stinkin’ adorable in them.

• The Internet – I look up everything. What to feed you when, why are your hands and feet so cold, what are signs of a fever, teething symptoms, theories on shots and anything else you can think of! Granted it has for sure made me more worked up about certain things – but it’s been more helpful than hurtful, so I’ll cut the web some slack. Also, do you know what the internet can do? It can bring me ANYTHING I NEED in a day or two. Seriously. Diapers, formula, wipes, diaper genie bags, bottles, nipples, medicine, food, plates, spoons, cups, toys (which The Daddy would argue you don’t “NEED” but what does he know) clothes, etc. I order it all.

• How Big Is Baby Elmo – this is hands down your favorite book, and you lit up in the store when we first saw it, and you still do to this day every time we read it! You love all the pages, but mostly the ones that say Mamama and Dadada, and of course, the pop up Baby Elmo at the end. You’ve ripped him, eaten him, and tried to completely tear him out of the book, but all out of a pure, deep seeded love.

• Sesame Street – you don’t watch too much television at all, but in the mornings we watch 10-15 minutes of Sesame Street in The Daddy and my bed. It is such a great few minutes of family time, as I’m still waking up. The Daddy loves watching your face light up as you watch, and hates the days when you sleep through it! Your favorite is the introduction that Murray gives when he announces the Word on the Street of the day – you giggle at him and love Murray So. Much. Those few minutes of every morning, and the few minutes of finishing giving you your bottle at night, are my favorite parts of every day.

This is just the list of things I could think of off the top of my head – you loved many more things over the past nine months, and every day something new comes out as an integral part of your routine, so like I said, I’ll keep this going.

Oh, and yes, I’m on a plane again, this time coming home from my quick trip to Denver. I land at 7:30, annoyingly close to your bedtime, and I hate that I won’t see you before you go to sleep today – but I’ll be there when you wake up, and guarantee that if you feel something tonight while you’re sleeping, it’s me just staring at you again as I get home. And maybe patting your butt, because it’s just too tempting not to.

I love you, baby girl!


The First Halloween

Dear Bex,

I’m writing again from a plane… sigh… I swear, in nine years of working the travel has been minimal, but somehow this month has two west coast trips back to back. But, this one at least is just for one night – and sshhhhh, I took a few minutes extra to snuggle and play with you this morning, so my Bex-ometer is nice and full, love!

This was such a fun week with you – you are growing and maturing so much that what you do on a daily basis continually blows my mind. You have gotten good – and are almost over – high fiving and “SO BIG!” Your favorite activity is emptying all of your toys and books from the bins that hold them in the living room, and examining each item before you put it down. (Or the opposite – emptying it just for the fun at rapid speed!) If you take out a book, you often want to read it from cover to cover. You put it in front of you, and if we say, “Should we read this?” you understand and settle in, thumb in mouth for the story to begin. You are the one who turns the pages (sometimes before we’re even at the end of the page, which has one word on it, but I digress) and when we’re done, you decide if we move on to another riveting board book with pictures of baby animals, or choose to read that one again. And again. But your books are familiar to you, and you love them. You laugh at the pictures of baby animals, and when we make the sounds that correspond to them. You touch the parts that are raised, furry or sparkly, and absorb everything about the process of reading them – you are like a sponge.

On Monday was Halloween – we did so much that day, and you were such a trooper, despite being zipped up into a fleece ladybug outfit! First we went to a party at Mason’s house in our building. Mason’s mommy, Cori, is so sweet and had a whole lunch spread out – and you ate tiny pieces of real turkey! You loved it! I was so happy, and realized that I think you are over the baby food thing somewhat and ready to move into real food. Terrifying but exciting nonetheless! We left the party so you could nap and be 100% for the Hoboken Rag-A-Muffin parade, and boy was it a sight to see! There were children, babies, dogs and adults dressed up EVERYWHERE, marching down Washington Street and gathered watching on the sidewalks. You seemed happy, it probably just was a crazy, funny walk outside to you! We met up with your friends Julia, Brooks, Lil (who slept the whole time!) and Chloe, and had a good time people watching.

Then we went back to the party room at our building where the children’s Halloween shindig was well underway. It was packed, hot and the floor was littered with streamers and candy wrappers and tiny toys, so not the optimal place for a baby zipped in fleece who just finally wants to crawl around! Not to mention that we didn’t know too many people… so we left after about half an hour of me telling you no, don’t eat that… no Bex, don’t grab the stringy, cottony spider web off of the window… no, don’t crawl behind that person who is swinging a stick at a little piƱata.

We went outside for some fresh air and to take pictures in the adorable haystacks and pumpkins that our building had set up. We got some great shots! We ran into your friend Ava and her family, and got some cute pics of the two of you dressed up. Finally we went upstairs, the Daddy got home in time to see you in your costume, and Matt and Erica came by to catch a glimpse of you too. Altogether, a great first Halloween, I’d say!

Monday also began the “Hold Your Own Bottle Bootcamp.” I was talking with Dina that day, and we realized that you’re a little bit like the Daddy and I – lazy!! Not physically – you crawl and climb all over, but if it comes to something that you know we’ll take care of for you, there’s zero shot of you attempting it on your own. And frankly, we’ve been pretty lax about correcting that as it’s easier to just do it for you – i.e. tip your sippy cup and bottle to your mouth, place food in your mouth, etc.

But NO MORE! On Monday Dina started teaching you how to hold the bottle, forcing you to use your own hands with her guidance. That night, I put you to bed and you fed yourself half of your bottle. We continued the next day – that night you pretty much fed yourself the entire bottle. And on Wednesday, I put you to bed, and you not only grabbed the bottle out of my hands and popped it into your mouth, but you then proceeded to take your left hand and play with your hair, smack the bottle, smack your leg, play with my fingers – holding the whole bottle just with your other hand! “Look ma, one hand!” This morning I actually gave you your bottle for breakfast, and you just sat in your highchair, reclined a bit to help you out, as I walked around and did things.

It’s bittersweet to see you do this. While it’s frankly pretty awesome to not have to feed you, it is a sign of just how big you’re getting. I very quickly grew to love giving you a bottle (other than those times when you must not be too hungry, or are too wound up to eat and you whip your head from side to side in the midst of taking huge gulps of formula) as it was amazing quiet time for us together, especially when putting you to sleep. You used to hum while you ate, the most glorious little noise I’ve ever heard. You don’t do that anymore, but I still hum and sing to you sometimes, and you always play with my hand while you’re eating, or pat my arm or leg, and you most certainly stare up at me with your amazing blue eyes at some point and I melt with pure love.
I used to say a poem to you at night before you went to bed while I was feeding you, and then sometimes follow that up with the You’re the Love of My Life song that I still song. I haven’t recited the poem to you in a while, but will always remember it, and just may bring it to say while you feed yourself – so that you know that as I fed you, I used to stare at you nonstop, and love every little detail of you. It went like this:
I love your eyes, I love your nosey
I love your feet, and all ten toesies!
I love your hair, and your smile so yummy,
I love your hands, I love your tummy!
I love your laugh, I love your sneeze,
I love the dimples in your knees!
I love your cheeks, and your tushy too…
Every single day I love all of you!
I love you today, I love you tomorrow…
I love you in happiness, I love you in sorrow.
I love you clean, I love you smelly,
I love you forever my Rebecca Ellie!

In case you couldn’t guess, I love you, baby girl!

Love always,